Originally published on CUIndependent.com on Sept. 8 2016
Here to brighten your day, week and possibly your month or year, is a clip of kindness that took place right here at CU-Boulder.
Last week, I had the unique challenge of charging across campus from the deep wallows of Fleming Law’s lecture hall to the heights of the Cristol Chemistry building. My trek from Kittredge to the UMC was never appealing, but not impossible.
Today was unlike my usual Tuesday, though. I had a job interview scheduled right after my last class. No sweat. I’ll take the bus down to Pearl Street and get there just in time.
My plan for the day was set. I got up early, my early start stemming from my anxiety of trying to complete my day with great success, as well as the struggles of having oily hair. I arrived at my class in Fleming fabulously on time. I sat, I focused, I participated. Finally, I grabbed my bag to charge to the top of campus as class came to a close. Time was on my side. Nothing could stop me.
No, this can’t be happening.
But I could not interfere with the force of nature. One drip and drop after another, it was coming down. And before I knew it, the rain was coming at me in full throttle. I sought shelter under Hallett Hall’s overhang. It felt silly, a senior in freshman territory, desperate for safety from the downpour. My weather app had said nothing about rain that day. Thanks, Obama. There was so much at stake, and the pressure was rapidly rising. My clean hair, my class, my interview.
The rain let up a bit and I decided I had to make a run for it.
I made it from Hallett to just past Willard Hall, when I was struck all over again. Oh god. My freshman nightmares were revisiting me. The days in Williams Village and my void of on-campus living was coming back to haunt me. Stuck between the trees above Willard, I was huddled over, trying to protect my fresh head of hair. Lightning struck. I shuddered. So many eager freshmen students ran across the grass clinging to their umbrellas, staying blissfully dry while I suffered beneath a weeping willow.
All of a sudden, a ray of sunshine peered through my rain cloud. Metaphorically, of course, as the storm was not settling whatsoever. There are a handful of good, genuine, beautiful souls in this world. That Tuesday, outside of Willard Hall, amidst a terrible storm, I had the privilege of meeting one of them.
A boy walked out of Willard with a friend, both in the comfort of a black umbrella. They walked towards me. The boy said, “You look like you could use this,” and handed me a second umbrella that he held in his hand.
I hugged him with deep appreciation and asked his name. “Abdul!” he told me.
“Like Paula?” I asked enthusiastically, opening my hero’s umbrella.
“Yes, like Paula,” he confirmed.
In exchange for the umbrella I asked for Abdul’s phone number and his favorite kind of candy — M&M’s. I also promised the umbrella’s safe return to Willard the following day.
Fast forward to Wednesday — I made it to class on time, I made it to the job interview as dry as can be, I got the job, bought a bag of M&M’s and headed back down to Willard to thank my new friend.
The phone number Abdul gave me failed to go through. I did what I could and left the umbrella, the candy and a note on a bright pink sticky note at the front desk explaining my story and my graciousness to Abdul.
I can only hope that Abdul found the items and understood my gratitude for the kindness he brought into my life that Tuesday. It is truly the little things that can turn your day around, make you smile and restore a little faith in humanity. Within the darkness of a day is the power and possibility of so much light. Offer an umbrella, a hug, a smile. Make someone’s day and let them make yours! Share your clip of kindness and spread it all over